High-Adventure Week: Explore the ocean at Sea Base

Adventures abound under the sea — and ashore — at Sea Base.

Stationed in the Florida Keys, the high-adventure base operates multiple programs in the Bahamas, Florida Keys and U.S. Virgin Islands. Participants can go camping, paddling, sailing, fishing, scuba-diving or a combination of those activities.

Adventures provide opportunities to explore historic seaports and state parks, kayak on the ocean, complete service projects and observe the rich biodiversity of saltwater ecosystems. Participants can also help in efforts to save the Florida barrier reef. The reef has been under tremendous environmental stress, and the Sea Base is involved with helping restore this essential habitat.

In one of the scuba programs, participants assist the Coral Restoration Foundation and help with the land-based coral nursery at the Brinton Environmental Center Sea Base in Summerland Key, Fla. This adds to other conservation efforts, such as shoreline cleanups and removing debris underwater. Collectively, Scouts have removed thousands of pounds of trash from the ocean each year.

Sea Base registration

Reservations are immediate and first-come, first-serve. There is no lottery.

Registration for 2025 adventures opens Jan. 18, 2024. There are still some dates available for 2024 adventures as well as spots for provisional Scouts who wish to connect with existing Sea Base crews if they’re unable to find a local crew to join. Leaders can stay updated about registration news by signing up for the Sea Base’s registration email list.

You can also sign up for updates via the BSA’s high-adventure page. To Be Prepared for the best possible experience on registration day, make sure your My.Scouting account is up to date.

To complete a reservation, units will need to pay $250 per reservation using either a credit card or online check. All subsequent payments must be made by online check.

Other Sea Base news you need

  • New program for 2024: The Island Expedition invites up to eight participants to learn about and experience the amazing ecosystems of the Florida Keys. Crews will paddle through mangrove forests, hike Florida State Park’s eco-trails, spend two days snorkeling, fish in the Florida Bay from 28-foot vessels, and build and race underwater robots — all while learning to protect and conserve the largest wilderness on Earth: the ocean. Participants will also be able to catch their dinner, snorkel turquoise waters, paddle, hike, and spend time on the beach with nights spent in air-conditioned dormitories. No prior experience required.
  • In 2022, the Keys Adventure Sailing launched for crews up to eight participants to set sail from Islamorada. Crews will embark on three days of live-aboard adventure at sea. Upon returning to base, they will be housed in eco-tents with bunk beds and air-conditioning. The remainder of the adventure will include days of snorkeling, kayaking and paddleboarding, as well as a visit to historic Florida Keys sights. No prior experience required.
  • Bahamas Sailing: Fly directly into Abaco, Marsh Harbour, Bahamas. Board your vessel and set sail on the Sea of Abaco, visit historic settlements, snorkel and fish. Crew sizes for Bahamas Sea Base Adventures are up to eight, 12 or 20 participants. No overnight sailing experience required.
  • Brinton Environmental Center: Located just outside of historic Key West on Summerland Key, the environmental center offers ocean adventures, including: Keys Adventure up to eight participants, Florida Fishing Adventure up to eight participants, Out Island Adventure up to eight participants and the Marine Eco Expedition up to eight participants. It’s home to the World Organization of Scouting Movement’s lone threatened/endangered coral nursery. All programs offered are multi-adventures and include snorkeling, fishing, elements of service and conservation. No prior experience required.
  • Florida Keys Sailing: Arrive at the Florida Keys, board your vessel and set sail in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Units sail, fish and snorkel the U.S.’s lone barrier reef. Florida Keys sailing programs include: coral reef sailing up to eight participants, eco-sailing up to 12 participants, Keys Adventure Sailing up to eight participants and Sea Exploring Sailing Adventure up to 20 participants. No overnight sailing experience required.
  • Florida Keys Scuba: Travel to Sea Base in Islamorada, meet your professional dive instructor or dive-masters and embark on an adventure of underwater discovery. Scouts not only scuba-dive, but they also participate in service projects such as coral conservation, marine debris removal, fish counts and more. Florida Keys Scuba programs include: Scuba Adventure up to eight Scouts (must be certified divers), Scuba certification up to eight Scouts, Scuba Live Aboard up to 12 Scouts (must be certified divers) and Scuba Advanced Marine Exploration up to 12 Scouts (must be certified divers). All scuba participants must meet BSA Scuba Policy restrictions and be approved by the Sea Base medical director.
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: Fly directly into the U.S. Virgin Islands, board your vessel and set sail upon the Caribbean Ocean. You can also hike U.S. Virgin Islands National Park trails, visit settlements and beaches, snorkel beautiful reefs and complete service projects. Adventures are for up to eight or 12 participants. No overnight sailing experience required.

To learn more about the adventures above, visit the Sea Base adventure page.

About Michael Freeman 446 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.